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TWRA Updates and Closures due to COVID-19

TWRA Updates and Closures due to COVID-19

Update from Chairman of the Tennessee Wildlife Commission, Kurt Holbert, "Governor Lee’s Executive Orders 22 and 23 identify outdoor activity as an essential activity provided that individuals follow Health Guidelines. As the Chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, I want to assure all hunters and fishers that Tennessee’s hunting seasons will be open as scheduled and public lands controlled by the TWRA will remain open. Likewise, Tennessee’s lakes and rivers and the access areas controlled by the TWRA will remain open to anglers and recreational boaters."

Due to COVID-19  (SARS-CoV-2), Executive order #38, and CDC guidance duck blinds this year will all be selected by computerized drawing. This is to ensure public health as in-person drawings result in crowds of over 1,000 people. Learn more at https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/migratory-birds/annual-draw.html

Individuals can learn more about how to protect themselves and help limit the spread of the virus by reading the Center for Disease Control Covid 19 guidelines.

This disease is an imminent threat to Tennesseans and should not be taken lightly. The Commission wants to encourage all hunters, anglers, and boaters to follow the Governor’s Executive Orders and to practice social distancing. Go enjoy the outdoors, but please do it in a manner that is smart and safe.

Licenses and boat registration are available online 24/7/365 at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com

If going to any location to boat or fish, be sure to check with the managing authority to make sure that the place is open for recreation. There are several localities and counties that have closed some parks and boat ramps.

Public Areas, Open & Closures due to COVID-19

The Outdoors Are Open! Get out, enjoy the outdoors while following social distancing guidelines set forth by the governor and the CDC. The following properties remain open for your recreational use:

Family fishing lakes are open

Wildlife management areas are open

TWRA managed boat ramps are open

Manned and unmanned firing ranges are open. 

Ranges will be open to the public during the days and times that each range has advertised and scheduled. Social distancing and the wearing of masks for the public is requested (not required while in shooting lanes). For manned ranges, shooters will be requested to clean their shooting lane when finished with supplied cleaning items (spray sanitizer bottles, paper towels, etc).   For more details visit https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/firing-ranges.html.

Regional sales offices will be open to the public from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, local time.  Visitors will not be allowed access to any office space, or location, other than the immediate sales office area.  The number of visitors allowed at one time will be limited for proper social distancing and the wearing of masks will be requested. 

TWRA is always available by phone, email ask.TWRA@tn.gov, or our social media channels. https://www.tn.gov/twra/contact-us.html

Hatcheries are closed to the public.

Covid-19 Hunting/Fishing FAQ’s

covid-19

Covid-19 has created an enormous amount of questions surrounding our ability to hunt and fish in Tennessee during this crazy time. The Governor, the Tennessee Wildlife Commission, and your TWRA believe that the outdoors plays an integral role in the health of all Tennesseans. Below are some answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions that we have received over the past few weeks. In the event these answers change, we will update this list.

Are we concerned about the Covid-19 virus?

Yes, this disease is an imminent threat to Tennesseans and should not be taken lightly. We encourage all hunters, anglers, and boaters to follow the Governor’s Executive orders and practice social distancing while enjoying Tennessee’s outdoors. Enjoy the outdoors, but do it in a safe manner. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our Governor has established guidelines for individuals to protect themselves and limit the spread of Covid-19.

Can I still hunt and fish in Tennessee?

Yes, hunting and fishing in Tennessee have not been canceled. All fish and game seasons and bag limits remain unchanged. You must purchase a license to hunt/fish in Tennessee. 

Where can I purchase my Tennessee hunting/fishing license?

Licenses are available 24/7 online at https://gooutdoorstennessee.com/

Do I, still, have to buy a license to hunt/fish during this time?

Yes, everyone that hunts or fishes in the State of Tennessee must purchase a license. The regulations laid out in our Hunting and Fishing Guides Fishing Guide still apply.

To change these rules would require an inordinate amount of time, along with, legislative and commission action. Long story short, by the time we were able to get free hunting and fishing in Tennessee, this will all be behind us.

Can I still hunt Tennessee public land?

Yes, public lands controlled by the TWRA are open for business. This means that you can get out to your favorite WMA. If going to any location to boat or fish, be sure to check with the managing authority to make sure that the place is open for recreation.

Can I still go fishing or cruising on my favorite lake?

Yes, Tennessee lakes and rivers and the access areas controlled by TWRA remain open to anglers and recreational boaters. In addition, Tennessee unmanned shooting ranges remain open for your safe enjoyment. This includes TWRA family fishing lakes, WMAs and TWRA managed boat ramps.

If going to any location to boat or fish, be sure to check with the managing authority to make sure that the place is open for recreation. There are several localities and counties that have closed some parks and boat ramps.

The TVA has ordered some boat ramps that they manage closed; doesn’t that mean the TWRA has closed the boat ramp?

TVA and TWRA are different entities. The TVA is a Federal Agency. The TWRA is a Tennessee State Agency. We do work with one another on occasion, however, we are not the same agency. The TVA manages boat ramps and, likewise, the TWRA has boat ramps it manages. The TVA cannot close boat ramps that we manage. At present, no boat ramp managed by TWRA is closed. Please be sure who manages each individual boat ramp and differentiate between TVA and TWRA.  For more information on the TVA’s response to Covid-19 and a complete listing of ramps and access areas closed by the TVA, please visit the TVA at https://www.tva.com/coronavirus

What about state parks?

Similar to TVA and TWRA, the TWRA and Tennessee state parks are different entities. At present, no boat ramp managed by TWRA is closed. Please be sure who manages each individual boat ramp and differentiate between state parks and TWRA.  Most Tennessee State Parks reopened for day-use visitation between 7 am and sunset starting April 24, 2020. The public can access most trails, boat ramps, marinas, golf courses, and other outdoor recreation opportunities provided by Tennessee State Parks.  Please visit Tennessee State Parks at https://tnstateparks.com/about/keeping-visitors-healthy to get complete information on the Tennessee State Park’s response to Covid-19 and the latest up to date information on closures and openings. 

Have there been any changes to the quota hunt draw for the upcoming Waterfowl Season?

Yes,  all waterfowl quota hunt blind draws have been moved to an online draw only.  Visit https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/migratory-birds/annual-draw.html for all the details.

Where can I look to find out if a quota hunt or property is closed or has new restrictions?

You can always go to https://www.tn.gov/twra.html for the latest up to date news regarding any changes.

Can I shoot my gun at TWRA shooting ranges?

Yes, Manned and unmanned firing ranges remain open for safe shooting.  For more information visit: https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/firing-ranges.html

Can I still check my game in at WMA check-in stations?

No, check-in stations on WMA’s are closed. Please report your harvest on the TWRA On the Go app.

Are TWRA hatcheries still open?

No, all hatcheries are closed to the public.

Are the TWRA offices still open to the public?

Starting Monday, August 31, regional sales offices will be open to the public from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, local time.  Visitors will not be allowed access to any office space, or location, other than the immediate sales office area.  The number of visitors allowed at one time will be limited for proper social distancing and the wearing of masks will be requested.

What is the best way for me to submit a lifetime license or miscellaneous license application?  

It is best to email this application so that you have an electronic trail. Read more about the lifetime license.  Please do not send the application electronically after you have already mailed applications.  When you do that, it only creates double the work to make sure we aren’t doubling up in the system.

What is the best way for me to register my boat?

It is best to do online registration for boats.  If you have already mailed an application and it’s been less than 30 days, please have patience as we are completing everything as quickly as we possibly can and remember the temporary registration of your boat application is good for 60 days.  Please do not send an application electronically after you have already mailed applications.  When you do that, it only creates double the work to make sure we aren’t doubling up in the system.

What is the best way to submit a Native Tennessean Annual License application?

Native Tennesseans who renew are able to go online or to an agent, we only require first-time applicants to submit electronically.